From Acca Larentia to Predappio, from marches to ultras in the stadiums: the black wave in Italy

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By John

From Predappio to Acca Larentia, from stadiums to institutional halls, from tributes to commemorations, from processions to demonstrations. L’black wave of neo-fascism over the years it has often carved out spaces of impunity where the apology for fascism ended up archived in some complaints and, in rare cases, before the judges. So every year those nostalgic for the twentieth century offer Roman greetings and hymns to the Duce at Mussolini’s tomb or respond to the present on the large Celtic cross that stands out on the asphalt in front of the former section of the MSI where three right-wing activists were murdered in 1978. The outstretched arm, however, is often a common denominator of numerous football curves. In the past derby between Roma and Lazio, a few days after the highly contested event in Acca Larentia, the Biancocelesti fans gathered outside the stadium singing fascist chants, accompanying them with the inevitable salute which, in the past, was also replicated for the camera by the former captain Paolo Di Canio. But similar episodes have stained many other fan groups, from North to South Italy. Furthermore, there are also numerous events which cyclically pay homage to the twenty-year anniversary.

Every year far-right activists reach the Duce’s tomb in Predappio complete with black shirts and fascist banners or remember the fallen of the X Mas at the military cemetery of Nettuno, on the Lazio coast. On November 2, on the occasion of the feast of the dead, representatives of black extremism also find themselves with their arms outstretched on the tombs of the soldiers of the Republic of Salò, as happened in 2017 in Milan. In 2021 in Dongo, in the province of Como, around 200 ‘comrades in line raised their arms to the sky – and in front of the police vans – to remember the death of Benito Mussolini, which occurred 76 years earlier just a short distance from the place of commemoration . Fascist greetings have also characterized local and national marches and demonstrations in the past. In addition to Acca Larentia, the most famous is that in memory of Sergio Ramelli, the 19-year-old militant of the Youth Front killed in Milan in 1975. Precisely from one of the proceedings born for yet another apology for fascism (following the Roman salute) it was today’s Supreme Court ruling arrived. The gesture in memory of the twentieth anniversary, however, has unexpectedly appeared over the years also in institutional classrooms. In 2019, Verona city councilor Andrea Bacciga was sent to trial for having made the Roman salute aimed at some feminists. Three years later he was then acquitted “because the fact does not exist”. In 2022, however, three municipal councilors from Cogoleto, a municipality in the province of Genoa, ended up on trial, having made the fascist salute during the vote on some resolutions the year before. An act made even more serious by the date on which it was done, January 27, Remembrance Day.